I am totally unprepared for teatime this week! Just got out all my Christmas tea things – not too many, as it seems – and after taking inventory, I either need to go shopping or be very creative in molding semi-entertaining tea posts this month!
Take, for instance, today. Much too busy at work and will be tomorrow, too. Ergo – the following “hodge-podge” of sort-of-kind-of tea things with a peek at my holiday decking of halls – and Tales from Pageant Wagon Village!
Up first, a watershed moment for me this evening – I finally broke down and took that “What Jane Austen heroine are you” quiz – and, who do you suppose I came out to be?
Yep! Anne Elliot! Not surprisingly, either. Persuasion – Anne’s story and poor Jane’s final completed novel – is my favorite of her works next to Pride & Prejudice. I will often seek out my Persuasion DVD starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds (pictured above) with a cup of tea and one of my gluten free breads and a sweet spread, then, curl up for some comfort food and story. I love so many passages in this – Anne is the mature Jane, I think.
Some very deep thoughts expressed through this heroine. Perfect for a cozy afternoon escape. Books, BBC Period Drama, and Tea!
Speaking of “persuasion” – randomly tossed into the fray here, is what’s happening at the Mistletoe Tea Room in Pageant Wagon Village!
Last we saw, Madge Pumphries . . .
. . . you remember, Mrs. Pumphries – from this past Pink Saturday – chatting for a moment with Officer O’Donnell? Yes, well, Madge was in a quandary as to the perfect Christmas gift to give her dearest friend, Beryl Beadle . . .
Well, it would seem that Beryl – at this very moment – is taking tea in the Mistletoe Tea Room with another friend from the Ladies’ Tea Social Club in the village, Mrs. Lottie Livingston.
Discussion is taking a decided turn towards Beryl’s own difficult Christmas shopping decisions – of which the micro-managing Lottie is listening with rapt attention. Lottie, you see, fancies herself something of a mother hen, and usually has the answer to fix any and all woes.
She has prided herself, in the past, with knowing just the thing to do and how to do it – be it sick bed remedies or rose gardening tips or the fashion fix to make last season’s bodice and sleeves brighter for this season. No doubt, Lottie will know just what’s to be done.
“There’s only one thing for it, Mrs. Beadle,” says Lottie.
“Oh, Mrs. Livingston – do tell!” says Beryl. “What do you think dear Mrs. Pumphries would appreciate this Christmas. I just can’t think – what to give her.”
“Not to fear, my dear,” Lottie sniffs. “Wasn’t I the one who advised you about all your holiday shopping last year?”
Beryl thought. Yes, as a matter of fact she was. And, come to think of it – rather poor advice, indeed. What sort of gift was a hot water bottle for a friend with whom you share literary discussions and prayer requests?
“Practical, that’s what!” Lottie exclaimed. “Practical is how you want to go in gift giving, of course. That hot water bottle from last year – probably warmed her heart as well as her feet all winter thinking of you, dear.”
Beryl was suddenly sorry she had broached the gift giving concerns with the good Mrs. Livingston. She should have know a tea shop invitation from Lottie might turn in this direction – at the woman’s persuasive mercies. She was committed now, though – and would have to hear Lottie out – with one significant difference. This year Beryl would make up her own mind in the end, and not give into unrestrained persuasion! “Perhaps something tea related,” she offered, glancing about the tea shop at the Christmas decor and some of the lovelies for sale.
“Tea?” Lottie was incredulous. “Certainly not! Not this season! I daresay, one teacup is certainly enough to be going on with, and I’m sure dear Madge has her one already.”
“Yes . . .but . . .”
“No buts about it!” Lottie was undeterred. “Teacups are superfluous finery when beyond the need. You take my advice – this year the want is in the area of – garlic!”
Beryl was not persuaded. “Garlic, Lottie?”
“To be sure!” Lottie was decided. “As you know, garlic is a remedy for a great many ailments. The Almanac says that this winter will be ripe for a great many ailments, and remedies will be most wanting. You take my advice – wrap up a goodly deal of garlic cloves in a small basket. Put a ribbon on it if needs must for presentation purposes – though not at all necessary in my book.” She drained her teacup of its final sip and nodded knowingly. “Your dear Mrs. Pumphries will sing your praises the winter long with such a gift!”
Beryl was not convinced. Dear Madge had taken such pains last Christmas to seek out the most perfectly lovely glass vile in the softest shade of pink.
In it, she mixed a vibrant blend of essential oils that blessed the senses with fragrance and a soothing sensation. It was a gift most elegant – especially in comparison to – a water bottle.
“Well, Mrs. Livingston,” Beryl stood, thinking it best to bring her teatime with Lottie to a close, “I shall consider your advice. So very kind of you to take an interest.”
Lottie smiled in triumph and stood, taking Beryl’s hands warmly in her own. “My dear, you do as I say. I give my advice for free – it’s just my way. Do be blessed, my dear. And, Merry Christmas.”
A swish of her skirt, and Mrs. Livingston departed, leaving Mrs. Beadle alone to determine her next course of action. “I wonder,” she thought, “if a new teacup wouldn’t be the most perfect gift for Madge Pumphries . . .”
. . . but, not before I pause here to remark on how glad I am that both Beryl Beadle AND Anne Elliot had learned their lesson about the care to be taken when filtering persuasive advice with Godly wisdom and discernment. Anne got a second chance to accept the hand of a good man whom she had refused years earlier because of the persuasion of the “Lottie-like” Lady Russell. Perhaps, this Christmas, our Beryl may get a second chance, and redeem herself in her gift giving selections, refusing the advice of Mrs. Livingston. Not that I dispute the advantages of garlic as a remedy for what ails you – but teatime, teacups, and steeping leaves have a healing way about them, too.
Sharing my Hodge-Podge Holiday Tea this week with: